After enjoying the playful games of little pachyderms in river Tunga at the Sakrebailu elephant camp in Shivamogga district, we made our way further towards Agumbe which is considered to be the Cherrapunji of the south. It was raining heavily all through and it was an extraordinary experience seeing the Malnad landscape drenched in all the monsoon glory.
As we made our way to Tirthahalli taluk, we could hear the musical sounds of many a chirping bird with the terrain turning hilly, verdant and dense.
Fortunately, the rain abated as we reached our destination, Agumbe. We saw the entire village covered in a silvery mist and it was so foggy that we could not even see each other.
This is one of the two places in peninsular India where it rains for nearly eight months and the village is situated 800 meters above sea level. With the rain and mist playing hide and seek amid the wet evergreen forests, peak after peak unfolded before us like a tapestry. The hills are so thickly vegetated that one can see them in different tiers with the uppermost layer home to lofty and majestic trees.
My first glimpse of the Agumbe rainforest will always remain entrenched in my memory as nowhere else can one see such flora and fauna. Agumbe is also known for its biodiversity and is home to many varieties of aromatic and medicinal plants. Apart from this, it is only during the monsoons that a web of waterfalls comes alive but you can visit these beauties only if you are prepared to undertake a trek of 3-5 kilometers across dense forests and at the same time, one has to avoid leeches which easily latch on.
However, as we made our way across to one of the main viewpoints amidst intermittent rains, we were treated to the sight of langurs who roam around in groups around these hills. They are so used to tourists and people feeding them groundnuts and bananas that many of the young ones boldly came up to us to demand food.
In fact, at the local police station where we took shelter as it started pouring, one of the monkeys was found sitting in a chair and eating puffed rice and peanuts.
The local policeman told us that most of the young ones, visited them with their mothers and never created any disturbance. The grey langurs have black faces and ears with a yellowish appearance. Here at Agumbe, one can see how easily they have adapted to the extremely wet habitat of rain forests. As you trek across the pristine ghats, you can see many wild animals and forest streams that are fortunately hidden from the greedy eyes of realtors.
The dense silvery fog in fact adds to the beauty of Sahayadris in Agumbe and that is what attracts both the adventure seekers and trekkers to explore its mysterious peaks, innumerable waterfalls and rich wildlife.
The Agumbe ghats are tricky in the rainy season as the hairpin bends are forbidding. Make it a point to get down from your vehicle, to feel the cold, fresh invigorating air on your face and also see the spectacular view of the western ghats.
Since we visited this place during the monsoons, we could not witness the spectacular sunsets for which Agumbe is known. On a clear day, one can see this at the Sunset Point all the way to the Arabian Sea. Agumbe is a tiny village with a few houses that became famous because of a TV serial.
Many episodes of the famous serial Malgudi Days were shot in this scenic village as maybe, R K Narayan’s short stories found a perfect backdrop here for his memorable characters.
Since Agumbe, just 85 kilometers from Shivamogga, has hardly any hotel accommodation, you can stay in the few home stays around the village where everybody is welcome but only vegetarian food is available.